NORTH SMITHFIELD/BURRILLVILLE – Brigido’s Fresh Markets – including the stores in both Slatersville and Pascoag – have officially joined an independent grocery co-op headquartered in New Jersey.
The stores, which were acquired last year by independent grocers Mike and Melissa Fernandez, have joined Allegiance Retail Services, a retailer-owned co-op that includes stores such as Foodtown, Freshtown, Brooklyn Harvest, Market Fresh, Morton Williams, and Shop n Bag. The new owners were already members of the Allegiance co-op, operating other grocery stores under the Foodtown banner, a press release noted this week.
Originally established by Augusto Brigido in 1943, the supermarkets were owned and operated by the Brigido family for more than 80 years, prior to the sale in December.
“This was an ideal opportunity for our family,” said Mike Fernandez of the purchase, which also included a third Brigido’s location in North Scituate. “We wanted to expand our footprint and as a family hoped to move further up the east coast. When Brigido’s markets became available, it was a perfect match for both families. The Brigido’s were looking to sell the markets to someone who would run them as a family run fresh market, and we only operate family-owned stores.”
Pascoag store manager Edith Langlais
The Fernandez family owns and operates three other stores, and have reportedly been in the supermarket business for more than 30 years. They say they look forward to becoming part of the fabric of the communities they serve and supporting local efforts.
“It’s a very tough business today, but my wife and I love the customers, learning about them, and hearing their stories,” Mike said. “You have to love what you do in order to find success and we love going to work every day and serving our customers.”
The couple said they also hope to become a premier employer in the communities they serve, including the 7,000-square-foot store on Sayles Avenue in Pascoag, the 14,000-square-foot store in Slatersville Plaza in North Smithfield, and the 20,000-square-foot at Village Plaza Way in North Scituate.
Each supermarket has recently been updated, and according to the new owners, customers will soon be enjoying both a more diversified product line and more robust promotional program. In addition to the traditional grocery items, the family says new lines of organic and natural foods will be offered, and there will be expanded dairy and prepared foods sections, and an island of imported meats and cheeses.
Slatersville store manager Manny Torres.
The owners have also launched a new website uniting the three stores, which features digital coupons, a weekly circular and full product lists. Other notable changes include the implementation of a loyalty rewards program, home delivery services, and curbside pickup.
“The changes we made have positioned us to be more competitive with other grocers in the area while maintaining a fresh product line in all departments, especially in our perishable department,” Mike said.
The supermarkets will be sourced through Allegiance, which provides marketing, advertising, and technological and merchandising support, as well as full line of private label products to member stores. Owner Mike Fernandez is a premier member of the group, which supports markets in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
Grand opening events celebrating the change in ownership will be scheduled in early September, according to the release.
The Fernandez family